Cowboys need to be careful with DeMarcus Ware

Posted Monday, Mar. 03, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

The Dallas Cowboys are considering cutting defensive end DeMarcus Ware.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Cut Ware, the team’s all-time leader in sacks, a certain Ring of Honor inductee and a likely shoo-in to one day be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?


This is not going to end well.

Before we even consider what Ware has done in the past and what he means to the franchise, let’s look at the on-field bottom line.

The Cowboys are not a better team without Ware.

As much as he struggled this past season because of a variety of injuries that limited his production to a career-low six sacks, consider the depth chart at defensive end without him.

The only other ends signed to contracts are George Selvie, Tyrone Crawford, Caesar Rayford and Tristan Okpalaugo.

That’s it. That’s the list.

Think the Redskins, Giants and Eagles are shaking in their boots?


Cowboys owner Jerry Jones understands as much.

It’s one reason why he brought up the prospect of who the Cowboys would take the field with if they were without Ware when he discussed the topic with reporters at the scouting combine in Indianapolis a little over a week ago.

But as much as Jones couldn’t fathom the thought of opening the season without Ware, he acknowledged that the Cowboys have a tough decision to make regarding Ware’s contract that certainly puts in play the possibility of Ware not being on the team in 2014.

There is no denying the bottom line of the Cowboys’ seemingly untenable financial obligations to Ware. He has a base salary of $12.25 next season with a salary cap hit of $16 million.

He will be 32 in 2014 and coming off the worst numbers of his career and a second consecutive off-season surgery.

And for a team in salary cap hell for the umpteenth year, they need to address Ware’s numbers.

The question is how do you do it?

They could restructure his deal, as they have done in the past, by turning his base salary into a bonus, thus lowering his cap number for 2014. This move pushes out money into futures, thus delaying the inevitable salary cap bite.

They could ask him to take a pay cut or they could cut him, picking up $7.4 million in cap room.

The distasteful take-or-leave situation of take a pay cut or be cut seems to be the decision that’s weighing heavy on the Cowboys and the one they are considering the most.

This is where things will get ugly.

Ware stated after the season that he had no intention of taking a pay cut.

And sources close to Ware indicated that he still has no plans to do so.

A little advice for Jones and vice president and cap manipulator Stephen Jones, who seems to pushing hard for a pay cut: Be careful. Be very careful.

This is DeMarcus Ware.

This is not Terrell Owens, who was cut via a table cloth.

This is different than the Miles Austin situation, who might already be cut if he didn’t get married last weekend.

This is DWare.

More important, he is a guy who will likely be coveted on the open market.

Think New Orleans and Rob Ryan, where he would get a chance to play outside linebacker in the 3-4.

Think the New York Jets and Rex Ryan.

The Houston Texans would also seem to be an attractive option even without Wade Phillips, especially if they don’t draft Jadeveon Clowney No. 1.

Could you imagine J.J. Watt and Ware on opposite sides?

With all due respect to Anthony Spencer and even Jason Hatcher, Ware has never played alongside another pass rusher who required double teams.

Even an injured Ware would have gotten more than six sacks in that arrangement a year ago.

And now we are talking about a Ware, whom, if what the doctors are saying is true, should be good as new and back to his old dominant ways after elbow surgery a couple of weeks ago.

One thing Jones pointed out last week as a key to any decision on Ware was if he still had his legs because they are so important to a pass rusher.

Well, Ware’s legs really weren’t the major problem for him last year. It was a nerve issue in his elbow that robbed him of all his power.

If Ware is going to be back to his dominant ways, it better be in a Cowboys uniform.

There’s an even more important part of the equation that Jones mentioned as it relates to the team. The Cowboys don’t have the time or the luxury to rebuild with Tony Romo at quarterback.

It’s not about the future. It’s about now.

Everyone understands they want to salvage some money and not push it all into the future.

But this team has no future to speak of.

Coach Jason Garrett has no future promised beyond this year.

The same likely goes for Romo and tight end Jason Witten if the Cowboys don’t make the playoffs.

Romo, Witten, Ware. They are this generation’s version of the Triplets.

They grew up together under Bill Parcells, rose to prominence under Phillips and suffered as underachievers together in their inability to win when it matters most as Phillips departed and Garrett took over.

They deserve one more bite at the apple together.

There is no other decision to make.

Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760 Twitter:@clarencehilljr

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?

Friday, November 28Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Friday, November 28Full Scoreboard
Chicago «109Final | Box
Golden State111st Qtr 6:41 | Box
Charlotte10TV: CSN-BA, SPSO
New Orleans 11/28 7:30 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FSN-NO, SPSO
Milwaukee 11/28 7:30 PM ET
Dallas 11/28 7:30 PM ET
Toronto TV: FSN-SW, TSN2
LA Clippers 11/28 8:00 PM ET
Orlando 11/28 8:00 PM ET
Indiana TV: FSN-FL, FSN-IN
New York 11/28 8:00 PM ET
Oklahoma City TV: MSG, FSN-OK
Sacramento 11/28 8:30 PM ET
San Antonio TV: CSN-CA, FSN-SW
Phoenix 11/28 9:00 PM ET
Denver TV: FSN-AZ, Altitude
Memphis 11/28 10:00 PM ET
Portland TV: SPSO, CSN-NW
Minnesota 11/28 10:30 PM ET
Full Scoreboard
Week 13Full Scoreboard
Chicago17Final | Box
Detroit «34Gridiron Replay
Philadelphia «33Final | Box
Dallas10Gridiron Replay
Seattle «19Final | Box
San Francisco3Gridiron Replay
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Cleveland 1:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Indianapolis TV: FOX
NY Giants 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: FOX
Carolina 1:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FOX
New Orleans 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: FOX
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: CBS
Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: CBS
Arizona 4:05 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
New England 4:25 PM ET
Green Bay TV: CBS
Denver 8:30 PM ET
Kansas City TV: NBC
Miami 8:30 PM ET
Full Scoreboard
Friday, November 28Full Scoreboard
NY Rangers «3Final | Box
Chicago «4Final | Box
NY Islanders23rd Prd 10:40 | Box
Washington4TV: MSG, CSN-DC
Winnipeg01st Prd 13:51 | Box
Boston0TV: TVA Sports 2, TSN3, NESN
Montreal01st Prd 14:43 | Box
Buffalo1TV: RDS, MSG-BUF
Detroit01st Prd 16:15 | Box
New Jersey1TV: FSN-DET, MSG+
Carolina01st Prd 12:15 | Box
Vancouver01st Prd 15:18 | Box
Columbus0TV: SN-PAC, FSN-OH
Ottawa 11/28 7:30 PM ET
Florida TV: RDS2, TSN5, FSN-FL
Edmonton 11/28 8:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: SN-W, FSN-MW
Minnesota 11/28 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: FSN-N+, FSN-SW+
Full Scoreboard